Peace Shall Destroy Many

by Rudy Wiebe

Start Free Trial

What is the author's point of view in Peace Shall Destroy Many?

The author's point of view in this novel appears to be the same as that of the protagonist, Thom Wiens. Wiens comes to believe that complete pacifism is an immoral position since the Mennonites among whom he lives benefit from peace and freedom which are protected by the soldiers whom they despise.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Peace Shall Destroy Many is primarily a philosophical novel. One might go so far as to call it a theological novel in the tradition of Tolstoy, but without Tolstoy's gift for dialogue and verisimilitude. The author's point of view is generally thought to be similar, if not identical, to the viewpoint at which the protagonist, Thom Wiens, eventually arrives. This viewpoint is essentially that absolute pacifism is not a tenable moral position. The Mennonite community in the novel eschew violence, but they benefit from the violence of others by living in a free country, protected by soldiers who fight on their behalf. Not only this, but they look down on those who protect them, adopting a hypocritical and sanctimonious attitude while refusing to contribute anything to the country in which they live.

This is ultimately Wiens's point of view, and it seems to be Wiebe's as well. Although there are plenty of opposing pacifist voices in the novel, there are no solid arguments which address Wiens's objections. Despite Wiebe's controversial position, he was surprised by the furor the novel caused in the Mennonite community when it was published in 1962. This may suggest that Wiebe himself was unaware of quite how rare and radical his views were among Mennonites.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team